The river Clyde flows through Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, and onward into some of the deepest coastal waters in Britain. The firth encompasses a number of large and small islands, and several Sea Lochs that creates a body of water stretching from Southern Scotland to the tip of Loch Fyne. The Clyde Sea Sill has been a designated Marine Protected Area due to its importance for local fish stocks and other higher marine predators. There are common sightings of seals and porpoises, with dolphins and some whale species spotted occasionally.
With Glasgow’s urban and industrial heartland within its catchment, it is no surprise that plastic pollution affects much of the coast. Areas of natural beauty, such as Arrochar at the head of Loch Long, have become a trap for debris floating in from urbanised areas further South. These high levels of pollution are in danger of damaging tourism, which much of the coastal population relies on for their livelihood.
The Clyde Nurdle Quest
Pellets have been found in shocking quantities on some beaches around the Clyde. To discover more about how pellets are distributed around the Clyde, researcher Natalie Welden teamed up with Fidra and a team of enthusiastic citizen scientists for The Clyde Nurdle Quest. Volunteers revisited beaches over two months to find out where pellets were located, and whether they moved around depending on wind and tidal conditions.
Photo: Pellets on Irvine Beach, Firth of Clyde, 2015 - Deborah Fuchs